JOHANNESBURG - Shamed referee Cedrick Muvhali, who was the centre of attention in the Absa Premiership clash between Cape Town City and Polokwane City two weeks ago, has been suspended from officiating with immediate effect and will only be considered again for matches in the top division sometime in the new year, Safa confirmed.
“The match was blighted by some poor officiating in which the home side was denied what looked like a clear goal,” read the statement from the motherbody on Monday morning.
Muvhali and his assistant Patrick Jafta, who has also been yanked off the officiating roster, deprived striker Lehlohonolo Majoro of a legitimate goal as they punished him for being offside, but did not see that an opposition defender – defender Thapelo Tshilo – was playing him on as he stood behind the goalkeeper.
The referee then changed his mind an awarded the goal before, after a few minutes consulting with Jafta, reversed his decision and restarted the game from a drop ball. Muvhali then later gave Cape Town City a bogus penalty, seemingly making up for his grave error moments earlier, and Majoro stepped up to convert and give his side a much-needed victory.
But the Polokwane City coach and players blew a fuse, demanding answers and charging at the referee as they slumped to a fourth consecutive league defeat.
In an emotional post-match interview, coach Bernard Molekwa said he feared he could be sacked because of Muvhali’s poor handling of the match.
Safa, under pressure from clubs, the media and fans, have now acted swiftly and given the referee and his fumbling assistant the boot – albeit in the form of a brief suspension.
“As a result, both officials have been suspended from handling any game within the National Soccer League (NSL) from 1 October to 31 December 2017. The match fee which was supposed to have been paid is forfeited and their monthly stipend for the same period of October to December has also been forfeited,” Safa said.
Muvhali and Jafta will return to refereeing again, but will only be assigned National First Division matches, which will be supervised by a senior match commissioner to “monitor them for at least four weeks”.
Their return to the Premier League will only be assessed if there is an improvement, the statement said further.
“We needed to act swiftly and decisively in order to send a strong message to all match officials that such below par performances are unacceptable and measures will be taken against match officials who perform poorly,” said the head of Safa’s technical committee, Natasha Tsichlas.